The Value of Hubs & Spokes

Get In, Get Out

As writers, we have to alternate between community and isolation.

Community happens in the hub, the work happens in spokes. Having the balance of both exposes us to new ideas, but also gets the hard stuff done.

It’s important to not only foster relationships, but be exposed to new ideas.

Hubs

Hubs is where community happens, but it’s not just people. It’s any place where we can be exposed to new stuff, which includes digital things, too.

Here are some examples of physical and digital hubs:

Digital: Facebook groups, Twitter, Product Hunt, Websites relevant to writing/arts

Physical: Parties, meetups, talks, conferences, meetings, museums, lunch/dinner with friends.

Spokes

Spokes, on the other hand, should promote work — whether it’s independent or collaborative.

Here are some examples of spokes: the office, a nook, the uncool restaurant, the library.

The idea is to have the ebb and flow of the hubs and spokes, and to make time for each. When you’re in a hub, enjoy the hub for what it is. And in the spoke, do the work you’re there to do.

“…Expose yourself to ideas in hubs on a regular basis, but maintain a spoke in which to work deeply on what you encounter” — Cal Newport, Deep Work

We can then take the info or experiences from the hub and apply it to our spoke. It’s not good to be in too many hubs or too spend all the time in a spoke. The work suffers on both ends.

However…

The problem in our digital age is that we can too easily bring the hub into our spoke. We all remember the college “study groups” where nothing got done. The same could happen at work. Or via a Facebook group or a friendly Gchat exchange.

We have to understand the clear delineation for the purpose at hand. That’s easier to remember at a party, but not when the party creeps along into the spoke.

Get in, then get out to do the work.


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I’m Josh Spilker, a writer and author. I blog about the writing process at Create, Make, Write and write essays at Vaguely Feel.